Elk Grove Airport – Save It


Honorable Elk Grove City Council Members,

I am writing you on behalf of the board and the statewide membership of the California Pilots Association. The California Pilots Association is a non-profit public benefit California Corporation formed in 1949. The mission of our statewide volunteer organization is to promote and preserve the state’s general aviation airports.


 

Date:    February 25, 2009

To:       The Honorable Elk Grove City Council:
Mayor, Patrick Hume
Vice Mayor, Sophia Scherman
Councilmember, James Cooper
Councilmember, Gary Davis
Councilmember, Steven M. Detrick

Subj:    Elk Grove Airport

Honorable Elk Grove City Council Members,

I am writing you on behalf of the board and the statewide membership of the California Pilots Association. The California Pilots Association is a non-profit public benefit California Corporation formed in 1949. The mission of our statewide volunteer organization is to promote and preserve the state’s general aviation airports.

The California Pilots Association has long recognized that the state’s general aviation airports are more than irreplaceable transportation infrastructure assets. They serve as disaster recovery centers – as bases for the now annual statewide wild fires, and as critical earthquake recovery bases.

Our general aviation airports also serve as regional economic engines – the same as the highway system serving each community. When commissioned, past studies have confirmed the financial benefits of general aviation airports to their communities.

As you are aware, in January 2005, the Sacramento Board of Supervisors (SBoS) voted to cancel the Elk Grove Airport’s use permit. This was done as a result of a developer persuading the Sacramento Board of Supervisors to place the airport on its agenda due to unspecified safety issues at the airport.

After the SBoS vote, the California Pilots Association sent a letter (attached) to the SBoS asking about the basis of their decision, since the Caltrans Division of Aeronautics had no documented record of safety issues at the airport.

We also questioned how a developer with no aviation expertise could get the SBoS to address a non-issue at the airport. Unfortunately, the SBoS chose not to answer our questions on their actions and decision.

Our state airports are much more than a place to park aircraft. The Elk Grove Airport is an integral part of the transportation infrastructure that serves your community, and is connected to the community’s economic success – facts lost on many county and city councils.

We have recently been advised that the Airport land will be within City limits within a few years. We hope that you will seize this opportunity to save your community’s airport.

We join the Elk Grove Airport Association in requesting that you communicate with the Sacramento Board of Supervisors and request that the City of Elk Grove City be allowed to determine the fate of Elk Grove Airport – to keep it open and viable.

Thank you for your time and consideration. If there is anything that the California Pilots Association can do to help in this matter please feel free to contact us.

Sincerely,

Ed Rosiak
President – California Pilots Association

cc:      
Elk Grove Airport Association
Gary Cathy, Acting Chief, California Division of Aeronautics
Board California Pilots Association
www.calpilots.org


January 30, 2005

Sacramento County Board of Supervisors
Roger Dickinson – District 1
Illa Collin – District 2
Susan Peters – District 3
Roberta MacGlashan – District 4
Don Notolli – District 5

700 H Street, Suite 2450
Sacramento CA 95814

Subject: Elk Grove Airport (Sunset Skyranch) Use Permit

Honorable Sacramento County Board of Supervisors:

The California Pilots Association (CalPilots) is a statewide non-profit, volunteer, aviation advocate organization. Our goal, since 1946, has been to promote and protect one of California’s most important transportation infrastructure assets, its airports. Our organization and its statewide membership stand committed to that goal.

We are writing to express our association’s concerns regarding the loss of Elk Grove Airport’s use permit. We want to insure that as a group of powerful decision makers, you fully recognize the importance of the airport to the community of Elk Grove. We are also concerned that as a board, you may not fully understand the important role airports play as part of California’s transportation infrastructure. Revoking Elk Grove Airport’s use permit is tantamount to eliminating Elk Grove’s on and off ramps from highways 99 and 5. In taking this action, you are stripping this community of an important resource which provides commerce, along with emergency, and other transportation services.

We are aware that as a board, you sided with a developer who stated that Elk Grove Airport was a safety hazard. Since Elk Grove’s Airport was inspected every year by Caltrans’ Bureau of Aeronautics, with no major issues reported, how was this charge substantiated? This is especially puzzling since it was made by a land developer, who has no experience regarding airport safety. Further, since developers are in business to produce a profit, it is obvious to our association what motivated the developer in this case. Of course, we do not believe that a developer’s profit came before a community’s welfare, but we would like to understand the process here. Our experience with similar disputes has shown that once the developer has made his money and moved on, the community is left trying to resolve the remaining issues. In this case, it is the loss of a non-replaceable asset, its airport. This is very troubling to us, and begs the question what in fact is the relationship between the board and this developer? How was this decision reached, and why?

As quoted by KXTV-TV Ch 10 (ABC), Sacramento (CA), Supervisor Roger Dickinson said “There has been plenty of time to recognize that this use might not continue”. We are interested in how long this issue has been being reviewed, and exactly when did this developer contact the board regarding this issue? Also, what opportunity and timeframe was the Elk Grove Airport Association given to respond, in comparison to when the developer started to make suspicious safety claims against this airport?

As you are aware, the California Department of Transportation document, The Airport Land Use Handbook (http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/planning/aeronaut/htmlfile/landuse.php) should be used to guide development around airports. Unfortunately, this guide is often overlooked when development around airports is considered, which is regrettable, because history has shown, encroachment of airports with homes typically brings controversy and additional costs to the community. This wouldn’t be the first time that a developer tried to discredit an airport, so he could seize more land to increase his profit. As a board you are in the position to insure that a fair decision is made, and our association would like to insure that this due-diligence did in fact take place. Certainly an airport of 33 years deserves more then a cavalier “so what” attitude such as it has been shown by the board.

CalPilots stands with the Elk Grove Airport Association concerning this ill conceived move on the part of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. We believe the revocation of the Elk Grove airport use permit should be revisited. A comprehensive EIR should analyze the impacts of alternatives that are compatible with the airport which would benefit all concerned. A developers profit should not be part of the equation.

Thank you for your consideration of CalPilot’s comments on this issue. If we can be of further assistance at this time, please contact us at 800-319-5285.

Sincerely,

Ed Rosiak
President
California Pilots Association

cc:
Elk Grove Airport Association
Ms. Mary Frederick, Chief, California Division of Aeronautics
Mr. John Pfeifer, AOPA California Regional Representative
KXTV-TV Ch 10, Sacramento, CA.
Sacramento Bee

 


Unfortunately the Elk Grove City Council refused to even write a letter to the Sacramento County Supervisors regarding the airport (whihc currently rsides across the street from the City of Elk Grove).

Watch on youtube

Rudy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtJhrw4qvak

Airport Opposition

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_V5Y_j-C_m8

Council ruling

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygHFawFtU1I

 

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